Sberbank Seeks to Become Mediator between Foreign Investors and Russian Companies

Russia is dissatisfied with the level of foreign investment it is receiving and also with the make-up and volume of its exports. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports this was announced today at the round-table meeting Supporting Russian export and foreign investment in Russia by Sberbank Board Chairman Andrei Kazmin. He pointed out that in 2001 foreign investment totaled only USD 4 billion and accounted for just 1.2% of GDP. He emphasised that Russia is not happy about the fact that foreign investments depend on the prices of energy resources.

Mr Kazmin also called for the creation of a national export agency to support Russian exporters abroad. He said that Sberbank could take some of the responsibility for such a project. Sberbank currently provides 35% of loans to Russian companies and the annual volume of export contracts involving Sberbank totals USD 10 billion.

Mr Kazmin is convinced that the Russian banking system is in need of serious reform. He said that multiple limitations on the system of currency regulation had brought a reduction in the volume of foreign investment. He added that Russian banks are currently paying more in tax than banks in other European countries. 'There should be equality in the working conditions of Russian and European banks,' he insisted.

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